photo by Alexandre R. Costa (Flickr CC)

A few years ago I changed my browser’s homepage to blackle.com because the search engine claimed to save energy by using a black background and mostly grey text as opposed to Google’s stark white backdrop and blue text.

At the time of writing this Blackle counts “2,518,394.132 Watt hours saved”. I don’t really know exactly what that means in terms of real benefit, but it sounds a heck of a lot better than zero hours saved.

However, Blackle’s claims are disputed. Techlogg did some tests and concluded that a black background did not reduce energy consumption when using LCD screens and in some cases even increased it. Techlogg found that the best way to lower your computer monitor’s energy usage was to simply turn down its brightness control.

Yet there are also other, perhaps more concrete ways to help the environment and offset your ecological footprint when performing Internet searches. The Guardian’s Environment blog brought ecosia.org to my attention, prompting me to immediately switch Safari’s homepage to the environmentally friendly search engine.

The site is Ecosia and has just passed €250,000 in funds raised, 18 months on from its launch. It is a “mask” for Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and 80% of the revenue from the search advertising goes straight to WWF, who run the Tumucumaque project.

–Damian Carrington, Guardian

Now those are some numbers I can get into. Goodbye, Blackle. Hello Ecosia.